Meet Rodrigo, our producer who shared his story with us.
Battling adversity was not a choice, but a necessity. From a family linked to livestock and quinoa cultivation, Rodrigo faced the crossroads of abandoning his second-year studies in agronomic engineering to be the breadwinner of his family after the loss of his father, a victim of the terrorist violence of the time.
Gone are the days when touring the countryside with your grandparents was a welcoming experience and learning agricultural techniques to increase productivity was a dream to fulfill. Hard-working, responsible and above all curious; learned the art of baking. It was successful over 10 years. However, he had an outstanding debt with agronomy.
“At 23 I had a daughter with my first engagement. My partner, who was a chemical engineer, awakened in me the desire to finish the degree that I had left long ago. When my daughter was 5 years old, I resumed my university studies, ”says Rodrigo, adding that at that time he closed the bakery to dedicate himself 100% to his true passion.
Plowing the land, spending long hours under the hot sun and working the fields. Such tasks can be classified as the routine life of the producer. Although they have a lot of truth, they are colored by the contrasts of life, where good and bad experiences are presented as learning lessons.
“3 years ago I harvested a lot of organic red quinoa. I obtained a good yield that could be considered high, exceeding the average (1.8 tons per hectare). I planted 20 hectares and harvested 70 tons. This definitely filled me with great satisfaction, not only financially; but, as a professional, I managed to exceed the average performance in organic handling ”, he says.
Losses are a threat that often escapes your hands. There is little that man can do against the decisions of nature. “The excess of rain in early stages (between 0 to 50 days of sowing) favors the appearance of the fungus called the“ chupadera ”that damages the root and kills the plant. This causes great losses. On many occasions I have lost all my harvest ”, explains the man who uses energy obtained by solar panels for the lighting, cooling and entertainment system of his home.
If up to this point your friend or reader has not been surprised, keep calm because there is more. Since last year, it has been implementing a small ionization chuño processing plant. That is why it has installed a cold room for this purpose that makes full use of solar panels for this project that should be underway in June of this year.
But how is excellence achieved? To combat the threats posed by climate change and the appearance of new pests, he has received training from ASPAGRO, which provides trained engineers who provide technical assistance. «In this way I manage to keep up to date on organic agriculture, standards, permitted inputs, natural inputs, trends, preventive techniques, among others, which increase my productivity,» he says.
«Another favorable factor for productivity is the economic response capacity that I have thanks to ASPAGRO, they provide me with advances to cover production costs, purchase of permitted inputs, labor, machinery, etc.», he concludes.
Knowing how the market behaves has awakened your entrepreneurial side. “I have several projects in mind, ASPAGRO has awakened my entrepreneurial side. I do not want to dedicate myself only to the cultivation of quinoa, I want to process quinoa, I plan to venture into cattle ranching, afforesting the area where I live (Manallasacc) with fruit trees. I started, on a small scale, with raising small animals such as: guinea pig, chickens and ducks, the goal is to expand it ”, says the man who turned misfortune into strength.